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Romney Makes Strong Case in Illinois

Plus the rising power of the Super PACs

Marc Tracy
March 21, 2012
Mitt Romney, victorious last night.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Mitt Romney, victorious last night.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Not that he hadn’t before, but in yesterday’s Illinois primary, Mitt Romney made a convincing case that he is the Republican candidate best suited to taking on President Obama in November’s general election and indeed will be the nominee. He won nearly 47 percent of the votes to runner-up Rick Santorum’s 35 and seemed likely to collect roughly three times as many delegates, forestalling fears that he will not accumulate a majority by the convention in late August (in fact, it appears that Santorum still has a chance to deny Romney a majority, but at this point that would probably also take some unforeseen event). Romney outspent Santorum, but of course, he has also outraised him, and so actually that just becomes one more part of the electability argument.

Speaking of spending: a valuable article notes that more than ever before, as some funders begin to dry up and others refuse to commit, Super PACs, those ostensibly unaffiliated political groups birthed by the Citizens United ruling which can accept unlimited contributions, are only becoming more important. This is true even for Romney, whose campaign spent more than it raised last month but who was buttressed by its Super PAC. And it may be more true of Newt Gingrich more than anybody else: his Super PAC raised a little over $5.7 million while his campaign likely went into debt. Of that $5.7 million and change, how much came from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson? $5.5 million.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.